04/15/2013 12:00 EDT | Updated 06/14/2013 05:12 EDT

Venezuelans elect Chavez heir after short, tight race

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan electoral officials say voters have narrowly elected Hugo Chavez's hand-picked successor as president in a razor-close special election Sunday.

Winner Nicolas Maduro campaigned on a promise to carry on Chavez's self-styled socialist revolution, and defeated a two-time challenger who claimed the late president's regime has put Venezuela on the road to ruin.

Officials say Maduro defeated Henrique Capriles by only about 300,000 votes. The margin was 50.8 per cent to 49.1 per cent.